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Revolutionizing IT Services
By Nicole Chesmore, Assistant Vice President Infrastructure and Operations at Grinnell Mutual
1. You have rich experience working in the insurance industry, overtaking various leadership positions in the arena; you function as the Assistant Vice President Infrastructure and Operations of Grinnell Mutual. Could you describe this journey and what were the key takeaways?
Over the past 15 years, I have become a leader in technology by helping companies develop and improve key technology services and processes and improve security internally and for customers. Although I have held various IT leadership positions in different industries–including financial services, healthcare, government and manufacturing–the majority of my experience has been in insurance.
In the past couple of years, the rise of insurtech has made fast, easy and secure insurance solutions more important than ever before. As a technology leader at Grinnell Mutual, a 100-year-old property and casualty insurance and reinsurance company, I have the opportunity to help the company navigate and stay on top of changing technology needs.
It is exciting to work for an insurance company that has embraced technology. Grinnell Mutual realizes there is an advantage to leveraging and investing in insurtech and has been instrumental in the development of an insurance accelerator, a group of insurance companies and executives that help startups navigate the insurance industry.
2. How has the advent of latest innovations around IT Services impacted the Insurance space? In your opinion, how would it reshape the landscape?
Until recently, the insurance industry has proceeded slowly and cautiously to changing technology. Other industries–like banking, travel and shopping–were front runners in technological advancements, and therefore experienced the unfortunate instability of an ever-changing environment.
Digital and app-driven solutions are making it faster and more secure for customers to purchase policies and process insurance claims
Although the emergence of insurtech has made it imperative for the insurance industry to adopt newer technologies, it can also learn from those who made mistakes, moving forward with less fear of instability and negative impact on customers.
Insurance companies and startups are developing new solutions that are improving the customer experience by minimizing fraud, maximizing transparency and simplifying processes. Digital and app-driven solutions are making it faster and more secure for customers to purchase policies and process insurance claims. Along with new innovations in cloud computing, customer portals, self-service and continuous availability, the insurance industry is now maturing quickly.
3. As a technology veteran, you have worked in many organizations; how do the IT services differ in each of the organizations and what improvements are necessary to achieve the next level?
While I have noticed that quality teams and focus are the keys to providing innovative, secure and stable technology services, motivation for team advancement and culture are the differentiating factors in each organization’s success. It is important for organizations to focus on the root causes of issues, enabling them to stop firefighting and instead invest in long-term innovative changes for customers.
4. Where do you see the future of IT Services headed? How will technology play a key factor in shaping the marketing space?
The focus has moved from rebuilding core functionality to innovation, as IT departments and companies work to build microservices that can be reused for different customer and business needs. Reusable services allow for faster reaction time to changing market demands with less development impact to organizations.
New technology is improving every link in the insurance value chain, including marketing. Email marketing systems and social media marketing platforms are making it easier for companies to connect and build relationships with customers. Marketing clouds are allowing companies to gather and analyze consumer data.
5. Are there any other interesting insights you would like to share with us?
Future success in technology services will require finding the balance between speed to market changes and new processes that improve security and stability for customers and companies. Continued investments in innovation for stabilization and security will enhance an organization’s ability to keep up with the fast pace of customer demands while focusing on lowering costs.
Nicole Chesmore, assistant vice president infrastructure and operations at Grinnell Mutual, received a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Iowa and is certified in ITIL V3; ITIL Planning, Protection and Optimization; ITIL Intermediate Operation Support and Analysis; ITIL Release, Control and Validation, TOGAF level 1, 2; and Continuous Quality Assurance.
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